The House passed the USMCA, President Trump’s landmark North American trade deal, on Thursday afternoon by a 385–41 margin, less than 24 hours after voting to impeach the president.
The Republican-held Senate is expected to pass the agreement early next year, following an impeachment trial that has yet to be scheduled.
The deal overhauls NAFTA while leaving parts of the earlier agreement intact. Updates include rules for digital trade, stricter labor enforcement, and the opening of the Canadian dairy market to U.S. farmers. A key change requires a higher percentage of a car’s parts to be made in North America in order to remain free from tariffs, which the White House says will add 76,000 new American auto jobs over five years.
“It is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said December 10. “It’s a victory for American workers, and it’s one that we take great pride in advancing.”
The deal was pushed over the line after American labor unions, led by the AFL-CIO, signed on.
“We are thankful to @SpeakerPelosi & her allies on the #USMCA working group, who pushed to remedy numerous shortcomings contained in the original USMCA text. The end result is a vast improvement over both the original NAFTA & the agreement negotiated by President Trump last year,” the union organization tweeted Thursday.
38 Democrats, two Republicans, and Michigan independent Justin Amash voted against the bill. Ahead of the vote, Amash quoted Trump as saying that the USMCA is “the best and most important trade deal ever made” in a sarcastic tweet.
President Trump on trade deals:
NAFTA: “the worst Trade Deal ever made”
TPP: “even worse” than NAFTA
USMCA (mostly NAFTA with elements of TPP): “the best and most important trade deal ever made”
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) December 19, 2019